May 13, 2013 | David F. Coppedge

Talking Plants and Secret Networks

There was a time when talking plants
was mythology. Now, it’s science.


Hidden Messages in Plain Sight

Plants don’t speak English, obviously. Somehow, though, they communicate through channels scientists are only beginning to understand. No less than Science Magazine, the most respected journal in America, said this: “Shhh, the Plants are Talking.” In the “Science Shot” article, reporter Andrew Porterfield described controlled experiments in Australia that showed chilis grow better when basil is nearby. Somehow, the basil coaxes the chili plants through a hidden mechanism:

Amazing FactsBecause light, touch, and chemical “smell” were ruled out, the team proposes that the finding points to a new type of communication between plants, possibly involving nanoscale sound waves, traveling through the dirt to bring encouraging “words” to the growing seeds. Understanding this novel communication could help growers boost crop yields and increase global food supplies. How neighborly.

Live Science put it this way: “Even in the plant world, babies fail to thrive without a friendly community chattering nearby, according to a new study.” We weren’t kidding about talking plants. Reporter Becky Olson headlined her article, “Plants Talk: Seedlings Thrive with Encouraging ‘Words’.”

The Underground Fungal Railroad

More evidence is arising that plants communicate throughout ecological communities through a network of fungal threads in the soil. The fungi reward the plants for sharing nutrients by passing messages along, in a symbiotic relationship. The BBC News featured more discoveries about the underground network, as did PhysOrg. The BBC article claims that work in the UK is the first to show plant communication via the fungal railroad.

The research appears to show that a bean plant under attack by aphids can send out a warning through the underground communication channels. Plants getting the message set up defenses, but plants without the fungal network do not. One of the researchers was delighted at this “abject surprise that it was just so powerful – just such a fantastic signalling system.”

The BBC called this an “evolutionary role” for the fungus without explaining how a blind, purposeless process could discover any role in complex communications systems.

Some day soon we may decipher the language of plants. Here are some predictions. Favorite joke: that some humans think the underground railroad evolved. Favorite saint: Basil. Weather report: Chili today and hot tamale. Favorite pastime: sending intelligently designed signals. Favorite cowboy line: Where never is heard a discouraging word. Favorite hymn: Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.


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  • Donald Holliday says:

    “The BBC article claims that work in the UK is the first to show plant communication via the fungal railroad.”

    This is a puzzling statement, but one I’m sure is common. Claiming first credit for something that has actually been known for some time now. I see it everywhere within the Atheistic science circles. Jealousy, envies, covetousness, slander of colleagues and so on. And it’s not restricted to any one particular field of expertise within Science.

    Suzanne Simard spoke of this some years ago and here is a video.

    Dr Don Marx, formerly with the United States forest Service researching Fungal Networks and the interconnections of great biodiversity and later with Plant Health Care Inc who had educational programs and farmed many species of forest soil biota brought all of these things out to the public as early as the 1980s.

    So the reality is that this info has been around a lot longer than the UK Study. Still, one has to wonder why the old out date archaic technologies are still used in land management. It’s because the natural world is viewed as imperfect and intellects know better.

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